December 9, 2012

Watch the Surreal 'We Are On Fire' Shot on the Weisscam HS-2, Plus Blackmagic Cinema Camera BTS

Slow motion is one of the many beauteous benefits gleaned from the advancement and proliferation of digital technology -- not only has it been made less of a headache to achieve, it's also effectively cheaper now, too. Like any of the benefits of digital proliferation, it has the potential to be overused, but more importantly, the potential to be gorgeous when executed tastefully. The music video for CocoRosie's "We Are On Fire," shot by Filip Piskorzynski with some additional work by John Brawley, is an example of the latter -- in this case, shot on the P+S Technik Weisscam HS-2 Mk II -- plus, Mr. Brawley has just posted some impressive looking behind-the-scenes material for the video, shot on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

To continue ranting about digitally-shot slow motion -- even with the cost of a day's rental made just a wee bit sour by, say, the dropping of frames due to overheating (which is rare) or the expense of media for all that footage (at high speeds, of course, it accumulates rapidly), we're still talking the potential for a far better cost-to-benefit ratio than the alternative: shooting film at very high speeds -- especially given film's unique ability to be discovered entirely shredded from the stresses of slo-mo work. With that out of the way, here's the music video for CocoRosie's "We Are On Fire," directed by Emma Freeman with some glorious cinematography by Filip Piskorzynski via the Weisscam HS-2 Mk II -- and with a little help from BMCC-champion John Brawley:

And here's the behind-the-scenes clip from John Brawley, who had this to say about it (that is, the BTS clip -- not the music video):

I happened to have the early V1 Blackmagic Camera with me to shoot some behind the scenes. Most of these shots were done by myself or my assistant Matt Chow when I was shooting. No tripod and just the 15-85 Canon EF-S. IS wasn’t enabled too. Shot CinemaDNG and processed through Resolve V8 with mild correction, making the blacks sit on black and whites just on clipping and I added a little saturation. No shot-to-shot grading though as I rendered to ProRes 422 (HQ) and then cut the shots in FCPx.

All of which looks amazing -- the BMCC is clearly owning some serious latitude (look at those skies) here, which I'm sure is surprising to very few of us, while the Weisscam (though we're mostly looking at graded and studio-lit & shot footage here) also performs admirably, especially given it's 2K-fps at 2K (well, actually 1.4K-fps at 2K and 2K-fps at 1080i) abilities. We haven't covered work on the Weisscam HS-2 extensively before, so here's some intriguing high-speed footage via

Instead of just spitting a specs sheet at you guys, here's Cameraman on some of the features of the Weisscam:

The WEISSCAM HS-2 is the newest, uncompressed digital high-speed camera for frame rates up to 4.000fps. It is developed as a standalone camera aiming especially the needs of cinematographers. Coming with an easy workflow, two Streams (RAW + HD) via HD SDI, two formats (4:3 + 16:9) and cinema-style images, it is designed to offer you the freedom of shooting either in HD or RAW mode. The WEISSCAM HS-2 has a full Format Super35 CMOS Sensor with a global shutter. By using the Interchangeable Mount System (IMS) from P+S Technik you can attach nearly every lenses on the camera (PL Mount, Nikon F-Mount, Panavision Mount, etc.) and also change the Mount within a few seconds. The HD stream offers YCbCr in 4:2:2. You can choose between linear standard curves like ITU-R 709 or log curve for a higher contrast range within the HD SDI image. The RAW stream is a 12Bit uncompressed Weisscam RAW file and gives you the freedom to debayer in post production.

What do you guys think of the clips? Do you guys think the Weisscam will give industry leader Vision Research's Phantom line of cameras a run for their money? How about the BMCC BTS material -- does it change your mind about the Cinema Camera, or reinforce what you've already seen to be true about it?


Your Comment


Loved the video. Looked great. What I want to see is how they lit the video. That would be fantastic to know.

December 9, 2012 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


The music video and the slow motion stuff was amazing. The behind the scenes video was terrible. The DR of the Black Magic camera looked great during the day scenes, so that was cool to see, but I would hardly call that video a "behind the scenes". To be honest, I've found just about all the footage Mr. Brawley has shot and released from the Black Magic camera to be completely uninspired and bland.

December 9, 2012 at 11:53PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


If we r to judge a camera based on its performance, i don't see a sense behind evaluating the content of the film....what we are looking at as technical folks are simply image performance and as such its irrelevant to point out the bland-ness or uninspired-ness of the BMC. we r not youtubers but image technicians and on that note the bmcc as Dave Kendricken pointed out shows tremendous range...

always remember u r an image technician not a cat-watching youtuber when evaluating an image...performance not content is the purpose

December 10, 2012 at 1:14AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

thadon calico

I'm not that sure about your statment... isn't that supposed to be a BTS of the clip? I didn't see much of it, setup or else. Or is it only another one showing BMCC DR and color capabilities? We already know that by now.

December 10, 2012 at 8:15AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

Alex Mand

What in the world were you expecting to see ?'s just quick shots grabbed while
a music video was shot. And it's ProRes
with a basic one light color grade.
And that's what it looked like.

An Alexa..Red..or F65 wouldn't look any better.

December 10, 2012 at 6:41PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


The blackmagic looks great. But I've seen some Nikon D800 footage that has come close for me to ignore it, till I have another $3k rolling around in my pocket.

December 10, 2012 at 1:04AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


IMO the BTS doesnt do too much to increase the (already excelent) BMCC reputation.
The clip from Cocorosie is great, as you said in the post " glorious cinematography"

December 10, 2012 at 5:36AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


The BMCC looks wonderful, and that Dynamic Range looks sexy. The ability to capture those skies like that... Sweet Jesus! As soon as I know they're shipping, I'm putting in an order for 2 of them.

December 10, 2012 at 8:22AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


@ Joshua - Don't hold you're breath mate - I preordered (and paid for) one back in June! Still no idea when it'll show up, 6 months later...

December 14, 2012 at 11:46PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


CMOS Sensor with a global shutter !!!
This the first time I ve heard of a camera with CMOS sensor and A global shutter !!
does anybody know the other cameras ???
Or Weisscam is the first one ?

December 12, 2012 at 6:38AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


December 17, 2012 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Thanks joe

December 19, 2012 at 4:42AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM